Suspect in I-85 bridge fire could have arson charge dropped


Suspect in I-85 bridge fire could have arson charge dropped

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Basil Eleby takes his seat at the defense table before his case is called in this June 2017 file photo.  

The once homeless man accused of starting a fire underneath Interstate 85 that caused a portion of the highway to collapse could have his arson charges dismissed if he completes a court-ordered mental health program.

Basil Eleby was in Fulton County court Friday morning in the case stemming from the March 30 fire that snarled traffic for six weeks in metro Atlanta while the highway was being repaired.

His case will be transferred to Fulton County’s Drug and Mental Health Accountability Court, where he will undergo an 18-month program. If Eleby completes the program, the arson charges against him will be dismissed, and there will be no prosecution on the bridge collapse.

“It’s in the best interest of both the defendant and the community,” said Deputy District Attorney Fani Willis when asked about the decision to transfer the case.

Read more about what Eleby says about his future, and what other investigations are still pending in the bridge collapse at

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Previous coverage:

RAW VIDEO: Basil Eleby and his attorneys address charges after hearing. He is charged in the I-85 fire.
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